Operation Recognition

Contact Us

P. O. Box 41150
Olympia, WA 98504-1150

How to Apply

  • The application and honorable discharge information should be mailed to the high school the veteran or their family member is requesting the diploma from.  (Veterans may apply either to the high school they would have graduated from, a high school in their local community, or a high school to which they have ties.)

  • The law gives school districts the option of participating in this program.

Veterans obtaining their high school diploma

During times of war, thousands of young men and women across this country left high school and the comforts of home and hearth to serve gallantly in the armed forces. Their sacrifice ensured our freedom, and shaped the course of history throughout the world. After the wars ended, many of these veterans were not able to finish high school for various reasons, but led productive lives and built our communities over their lifetime.

In recognition of their outstanding contributions, The Washington State Legislature passed three bills to issues high school diplomas to veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. "Operation Recognition" is being instituted through individual school districts to award full high school diplomas to qualifying veterans. This is a small, overdue, gesture of our society's gratitude for the sacrifice these individuals made in the name of freedom.

Information on this site will assist both veterans and school district personnel determine who is eligible for this program and how to implement it.  RCW 28A.230.120

Celebrating Operation Recognition

Many schools throughout the country have used Operation Recognition as a learning tool for their high school students. These schools have used the program as a class project and a great way to honor local heroes.

Below are a few suggestions of how to incorporate Operation Recognition into your school's calendar.

  • Veteran's Day Observance - An Operation Recognition ceremony could be held in conjunction with the school's observance of Veterans Day.

  • Graduation Ceremony - diplomas could be awarded to the senior class and the veterans, or a separate graduation ceremony could be held.

  • Special Assembly - A special assembly could be held for veterans receiving their diplomas. This assembly could be a time for those local veterans to share some of their stories with the students.

  • Veteran's Holidays - Memorial Day

  • Graduation Project

  • When We Were Kids We Went to War - This video, funded by the Legislature and created in conjunction with OSPI & the WWII Educational Foundation was distributed to schools Veteran's Day 2002. To supplement the video, an operation Recognition ceremony could be held to provide personal interaction with veterans.

These or other creative projects will give students a chance to interact with the generations who have contributed to our US history.


Veterans who left high school to join the military during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam* are eligible to receive a high school diploma if the veteran:

  • Is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States;

  • Was scheduled to graduate from high school ; and

  • Left high school before graduation to serve in the War.

Veterans who received a GED are still eligible to receive a high school diploma. Diplomas can be awarded posthumously.

* The Vietnam Era includes the period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period and the period beginning August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975 for all other veterans.

How to Obtain Discharge Papers

If the veteran filed their Military Discharge Papers (DD214) with the county auditor, the documents can be obtained from the county auditor's office.

If the veteran does not have a copy of the military discharge papers, they can be requested from the National Personnel Records Center http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.